American Gem 2007 Short Screenplay Competition - SNAKE
  American Gem Short Screenplay Competition
2007 WINNERS  

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Perry T. Schwartz

Runner Up

Perry T. Schwartz
Silver Spring, MD


Perry T. Schwartz has written, produced and directed two short films, "Leo and Mars" and "Call Crystal." "Snake" is the third short film in this series which explores the difficulties and dangers of relationships. These three films will be released as a ninety minute piece entitled, "They Did It For Love." Funding is being solicited for the production of "Snake." Schwartz is the producing director of Ol' Black Bear Productions which distributes his text book, "Enjoying Theatre Arts" and other video and scripts he has produced, directed, and/or written. Samples of his work can be seen on the company website, .


I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter.......  

when I tried to find a short screenplay to direct and produce and found nothing I liked. It was time to start writing. My short film LEO AND MARS emerged from this effort.


I know I've succeeded.......  

because I am pleased with the films I've written, directed and produced so far and they have met with some modest success. Not enough as I'm not making a feature but some.


My inspiration to write SNAKE.......

was threefold.

  1. My need to have a third film to fill out the trilogy of short films I envision called, THEY DID IT FOR LOVE. LEO AND MARS and CALL CRYSTAL are finished.
  2. Some people I once knew and observed from a safe distance who roughly lived this situation.
  3. I love the Blue Angel and wanted to make an updated version of it.




FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Perry T. Schwartz: After I decided I needed to in order to direct and produce an original screenplay, I looked for a metaphor to talk about my experience in relationships. A song by John Hiatt got me started and LEO AND MARS just evolved from that beginning. I write so I can direct. I also direct adaptations that I do of plays. Currently I am working on a short story adaptation as a feature film.

FilmMakers Magazine: How did you prepare yourself to write your first script? 

Perry T. Schwartz:  I first had to find the metaphor to write around. Once I had that, I just wrote dialogue and scene ideas as they came to me over about a six week period. Then in two weeks the script came together. It did, however, take a completely different direction than I had intended. It more or less wrote itself into the world of the future that became the world of LEO AND MARS.

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to write SNAKE?

Perry T. Schwartz: No, this is not my first script. This script has been in development for several years.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Perry T. Schwartz: No I do not unless I know I have a deadline to meet. This is, of course, a bad idea as a writer because you don't get much done without setting aside specific time for writing.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Perry T. Schwartz: Yes, I do. Just getting as far as I have in this contest, encourages me to get to work on the feature I want to finish. I simply need to make time for it and establish a writing schedule. This is not easy when one wears so many different hats and real life intrudes on writing life.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the American Gem Short Script Competition?

Perry T. Schwartz: Saw it on Withoutabox and decided it would be worth entering. And it was.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Perry T. Schwartz:  I don't read many scripts. I think seeing the film is far more important than reading the script.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Perry T. Schwartz: I am passionate about film production and directing. The whole process of developing the script for shooting, shooting and editing I find enormously exciting and satisfying. I also love my wife and my Airedale Terrier.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Perry T. Schwartz:  At the moment, Paul Haggis. I think he accomplishes with great ease the dual purpose of art, to arouse emotions and stimulate thought. The best screenwriters do that. Although I must say, I admire writers who can just write really could comedy. Laughter is so important.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Perry T. Schwartz: I admire many directors. Do I want to work with them, no. I am a director and have been one in both theatre and film for a very long time. I learn from the great one's as I see their work. I don't need to work with them. Of course, I would be happy to have one of the great directors, produce with me and fund a project of mine.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Perry T. Schwartz: There are so many really good actors today to name a specific one would be very difficult. I would like to work with an actor who loved the role I offered them and could be totally convincing as the character. Sure a name actor would be terrific because that might work toward a project being financially successful.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Perry T. Schwartz: You must have a good script that has characters that people can believe in. That doesn't mean they have to like the characters but they must believe them in whatever the world is that is created by the film. In addition to a good script, production values must be up to the high professional level today's audiences have come to expect.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Perry T. Schwartz: Get SNAKE produced. Finish my feature script and get it produced.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Perry T. Schwartz: Retired, not teaching and not running a performing arts center. Hopefully I will be making a feature film somewhere, somehow. You always have to keep working on the dream.


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